Meet Tom DeMarchi
He runs the Sanibel Island Writers Conference, November’s keynote is Alice Hoffman
When Tom DeMarchi puts together a writer’s conference, he intentionally carves an intricate experience for both presenters and attendees, from cross-genre writing workshops and speakers excited to share their writing process, to those wanting to strengthen their craft, all of which make the Sanibel Island Writers Conference so memorable.
The event for writers of every stripe is Nov. 2- 5 at the BIG ARTS complex on Sanibel. It is hosted by Florida Gulf Coast University. DeMarchi directs the conference.
DeMarchi growing up in Massachusetts fell in love with writing and language. At one point considering law school, he would teach creative writing exercises to inner-city kids at the prestigious Phillips Academy. He decided his path wasn’t with a John Grisham-type law firm, that doing so would amount to selling his soul, he says.
So, DeMarchi went on to obtain a graduate degree in creative writing at California State University. He also studied at Florida International University in Miami, working with such writing talent as John Dufresne, Lynne Barrett, Les Standiford, the poet Campbell McGrath. He would become a writing tutor and run the writing instructional program at State University of New York at Cortland. He left that gig to join Florida Gulf Coast University as a creative writing instructor. He wasn’t sure about a request to direct the Sanibel Island Writers Conference, however. “It’s like building an airplane while flying it,” he says of running such an event, adding that he began coldcalling respected writers he knew who were also good teachers. In all, some 800 novelists, journalists, songwriters, playwrights/screenwriters, agents, publishing experts, poets and guest speakers in the word trade have appeared at the November event that
It’s like building an airplane while flying it.” —Tom DeMarchi, on directing the Sanibel Island Writers Conference